Far be it from me to argue with rugby legend Sean Fitzpatrick, but I have to say that I reckon he is a little behind the times with what makes Kiwis tick. Though perhaps it is because he is working for the NZ Herald and that paper may hold more traditionalist views. Because, over on Stuff:
Yup, Sonny Bill Williams, and how to look good shirtless, is THE most important lesson learned from the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Perserverance? Determination? Faith? No, sorry Mr Fitzpatrick. Rugby made us smarter because, as much as the much vaunted new super funky rugby jersey may have scored an epic fail on the durability, ease of application and even fit stakes, it resulted in this:
And of course, Richie also had a shirt replacement incident, but that doesn't even seem to register with Stuff's SBW-centric staffers:
Of course, there is yet another article on Stuff about SBW, one actually related to news about who he will sign with, though the main link on this page is to the gallery of his opening game change.
So I really am sorry Sean, but your analysis of the game seems to come from way back in the mists of time from when the All Blacks last won the Rugby World Cup. We are living in the modern, professional game now, where personality (and physique) can trump those more quaint notions of what the game means to the country with a crunch from a well honed six pack.
Verdict: One week on, it seems what Stuff has taken from the Rugby World Cup 2011 does not have a whole lot to do with rugby, but does have a whole lot to do with Sonny. It makes me smile. 6 slabs out of 6.